U.S. Indo-Pacific Command shifts to data-centric command and control

US Indo-Pacific Command is taking a more data-centric approach to command and control its troops. Three specific measures include building a mission partner environment (MPE), implementing zero-trust solutions, and solving data challenges.

Indo-Pacific Command is building a mission partner environment (MPE) and plans to provide initial products in the summer of 2022. As the core of the U.S. military’s “Joint Global Command and Control” (JADC2) concept, MPE will enable U.S. combat forces to use a single device to access U.S. military’s confidential and non-confidential networks and alliance networks, thereby promoting interaction between the U.S. military and regional international partners and allies. Operational. MPE will be delivered through a joint operations network called Indo-PACNET.

The Indo-Pacific Command is also cooperating with the United States Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to integrate the technologies developed under the DISA Thunderdome zero-trust project, shifting the focus from protecting network boundaries to protecting data. As the “Indo-Pacific” continues to develop, Indo-Pacific Command hopes to turn to multi-level security and identity credential access management (ICAM) to achieve the goal of single sign-on. “Thunder Dome” will be an enterprise solution, and various services will provide security down to the tactical level.

Indo-Pacific Command also cooperated with the first Advanced Data Analysis (ADA) team dispatched by the US Department of Defense to analyze and understand the specific data challenges of the command at the mission level and formulate a response plan. The Indo-Pacific Command hopes that the above-mentioned team can help the command provide processes and capabilities so that the command can better organize data to promote the “observation, judgment, decision-making, and action” combat process. Indo-Pacific Command hopes to protect data without sacrificing data visibility, availability, or discoverability, so as to effectively use data to gain decision-making advantages.

The US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) is taking a more data-centric approach to command and control its forces in the region. The command is building a mission partner environment (MPE) and plans to provide an initial MPE in the summer of 2022. This feature will ultimately enable the U.S. military to use a single device to access confidential and unclassified networks, and will provide allies and coalition forces with more effective information sharing, enabling greater interoperability between the U.S. military and its international partners and allies in the region.

The Mission Partner Environment (MPE) will allow users to access confidential and non-confidential networks through a single interface (such as a laptop or virtual desktop infrastructure), namely the Confidential Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) and the Non-Confidential Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRENT) and alliances The internet. It will be delivered through a joint operations network called Indo-PACNET, the underlying infrastructure of MPE.

Brigadier General Jacqueline Brown, Director of Indo-Pacific Command Command, Control, Communications and Networks (J6), said, “No later than next summer, we will provide the minimum viable products for multi-domain delivery through the aforementioned Indo-PACNET. (MVP). This will provide capabilities for non-confidential and confidential networks including alliance partners, and this will be done through the single Display we mentioned earlier.”

Eventually, MPE will expand to mobile devices. Jacqueline Brown added, “More importantly, this MVP is just the tip of the iceberg. We plan to extend it to mobile devices and use trade secret solutions to truly allow us to remotely access the same networks and desktops that are available at our headquarters. .”

MPE also provides other benefits. Jacqueline Brown pointed out, “The solution will be scalable to meet the requirements of the Indo-Pacific Command. It will also improve the continuity of the Indo-Pacific Command’s combat capabilities.”

MPE is the core of the United States Department of Defense’s “Joint Global Command and Control” (JADC2) concept, which is a once-in-a-lifetime modernization of military command and control methods. Indo-Pacific Command’s efforts are in line with the US Department of Defense’s plan to provide initial JADC2 capabilities in the coming months.

Jacqueline Brown emphasized the important role MPE will play in future operations. She said, “MPE is our main job in J-6, thus making the Indo-Pacific Command a combat command. We recognize the importance of being able to communicate and fight with our allies and partners from the war zone. From the internal competition to conflict.”

The Indo-Pacific Command will first modernize its existing equipment and prepare for future delivery capabilities from the Mission Partner Capability Office (MPCO), including the “Sub-Confidential Release Environment” (SABRE). Jacqueline Brown stated, “So, for example, we will use our existing capabilities, but access or apply them in different ways. In most cases, we will achieve this goal by modernizing our capabilities. “

This will be achieved in part by increasing the resilience of key nodes through “path diversity”, which will require a combination of ground circuits and secure clouds, as well as military and commercial satellite communications, including fifth-generation mobile networks (5G) all the way to the tactical edge.

Indo-Pacific Command is also cooperating with the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to integrate technologies developed under the Thunderdome project. “Thunder Dome” is a solution used by DISA to implement a zero-trust approach, which means that all users and devices must be authenticated before being allowed to access the Ministry of Defense network. At its core, the zero-trust approach shifts the focus from protecting network boundaries to protecting data. “Thunder Dome” will be an enterprise solution, and various services will provide security down to the tactical level.

Jacqueline Brown described DISA’s “Thunder Dome” as the next step in the development of “Indo-PACNET”. She said, “First, we will work with DISA to develop their’Thunder Dome’ plan. This is indeed our goal. This is a data-centric approach that can use the industry to determine the best path forward. We think The goal to be achieved is single sign-on. We hope to move to multi-level security, and then to Identity Credential Access Management (ICAM). As we continue to develop the Indo-Ethernet, this will be the next step.”

Through a more data-centric approach, Indo-Pacific Command is now also working with a joint data analysis team. The team arrived at the scene in September. INDOPACOM received one of the first Advanced Data Analysis (ADA) teams initiated by the US Deputy Secretary of Defense. The team includes members from the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) and the Office of the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Defense.

The goal of the ADA team is to analyze and understand the specific data challenges of the Indo-Pacific Command at the mission level and to help formulate plans to deal with these challenges. General Jacqueline Brown hopes that the next visit will last four to six months, “to help us solve these problems and provide legacy capabilities.”

However, she warned that solutions to protect the data must not make the data too difficult to use. She said, “Although we understand that protecting data is critical, it cannot be at the expense of the visibility, availability, or discoverability of the people who need to use it to achieve decision-making advantages. When we work with the ADA team, this Probably one of the biggest challenges we face.”

Jacqueline Brown added that advanced data analysis teams can help Indo-Pacific Command provide processes and capabilities to “help us organize data to better observe, judge, make decisions, and act” (the so-called OODA cycle describing the process of combat operations ).

She explained that the first two steps of the OODA cycle are critical to integrating data at the speed of decision making. She said, “When we look at the first step of’observation’, this is the biggest challenge we face in integrating data. This is because we have a lot of data. In order to use data correctly, we must be able to view our end-to-end Data, and understand what we have and what data is needed for the task, and what data below this is interference information and has nothing to do with the task.”

Once military officials are confident in the scope and completeness of the data, the second stage of “judgment” will come into play. She explained, “We need mechanisms to eliminate our prejudice against what we see and hear to effectively analyze and synthesize data. In order to complete these two steps, we need technologies that can correctly integrate our data so that we can effectively Use artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Jacqueline Brown, who just took over as Indo-Pacific Command J-6 in January this year, is also working hard to separate mission data from its isolated domains, to provide access to the right data at the right time and at the right place, while ensuring that the data is protected. Protect. In addition, her team continues to roll out technologies aimed at improving the efficiency of the mobile workforce, including trade secret solutions and cloud computing capabilities.

In addition, the Indo-Pacific Command J-6 team also supported two large-scale exercises called “Pacific Fury” and “Pacific Sentry”. The lessons learned from these exercises help inform the various projects and priorities of the Indo-Pacific Command. The J-6 team has also begun to transition to the Office 365 environment of the Department of Defense, and hopes to have the minimum viable product of the mission data platform by January 2022.

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